Philip Morris is having a hard time in Switzerland: the cigarette manufacturer has been forced to cancel the scheduled opening of an IQOS concept store at the heart of the trendy Flon neighbourhood in downtown Lausanne. The concept store was set up to host sampling events (for over 18s only). A place where visitors could have a drink and a bite to eat while testing out the American giant’s new IQOS device.
A hot topic
Initially planned for 2017, now it appears the Philip Morris International concept store will never see the light of day. Its manufacturer was quoted saying they were “vacating the premises”. The project involved a three-floor promotional space dedicated to their latest product, IQOS (or I Quit Ordinary Smoking). The event was a hot topic, highly contested due to the potential health hazards of the product. Philip Morris has explained away this change in plans. It’s « being strictly for commercial reasons », stating that the project was no longer relevant. « IQOS market shares in Lausanne are already four times the national average », said the brand.
IQOS has yet to prove itself a safer alternative to smoking
These products are highly contested by health professionals, and are currently the subject of legal proceedings. In a 2017 study organised by the Lausanne University Medical Polyclinic along with the Institute for Work and Health, conclusions indicated that the device actually generated smoke. They went on to say that this smoke contained the same toxic elements present in traditional cigarette smoke.
The Vaud Coucil of State has decided as a precautionary measure to regulate the consumption of IQOS. Enjoying the Heat-not-Burn device will only be allowed in dedicated smoking areas, to reduce the impact of second-hand smoke.
Stéfanie Monod, head of the canton’s public health authority, and Karine Zürcher, manager of the Vaud Anti-Smoking Information Centre, are both very pleased with the decision. In their professional opinion, the safety of the IQOS device has yet to be proven.